Reddit is about reflecting their audience's taste or lack thereof, not condoning nor condemning it. Reddit works precisely because they maintain some sort of "net neutrality" ethics, refusing any editorial meddling. Banning a distasteful content provider would break that neutrality; but hiring him would break it just as much.
If there's a will, among Reddit's users, to help Brutsch find a new job, he'll get it. And I'd bet it will happen, if only because some companies would value the PR outcome of such a move. But that's for the community to decide, not for the infrastructure guys at Reddit inc.
Reddit has neither a high nor a low moral ground on this; Reddit is and should remain amoral. That's where the Nike comparison completely falls apart.
You realize that this is impossible, right? Reddit cannot be amoral, it makes moral decisions all over the place.
Why did they ban the jailbait subreddit? They made a moral decision to ban it. Why don't they allow doxing people? They made a moral decision to ban it. They make many other moral decisions in the breach; it's just easier to see their decisions when you look at what they don't allow rather than what they do.
Simply hosting and allowing /r/creepshots to exist is a moral decision. Reddit provides them support, legitimacy, a platform, and server space by allowing them to use reddit. This is a moral decision.
You don't get to provide material support for a site and at the same time say "we're not responsible for it". You are, to some extent, responsible, and to deny that is immoral.
I find that position repugnant, and I’m sickened people keep talking about this situation as if it’s Michael Brutsch who’s the victim here.
Adrian Chen on Twitter: “Why I felt OK outing Violentacrez: Anonymity should be valued mainly to the extent it helps protect powerless from powerful. VA wasn't that.” (https://twitter.com/AdrianChen/status/258703898695593984)
Oh come on, that's bull. This is the exact same line of reasoning as "if you're not with us you're against us" - not being against something does not indicate that one is for something, or even condoning of something.
Reddit's position against doxxing means Reddit is against doxxing - any further extrapolations are your own. Reddit's stance on doxxing may result in women being harassed and photographed in compromising situations, but that in no way means that, quote, "Reddit is expressing the moral preference that it’s okay to harass women and photograph them in compromising positions".
That is a patent falsehood, and I find your entire post deeply offensive. This is the same exact argument right-wing politicians have used in the past to take us to war.
By your logic, the burger you had for lunch last week expresses your moral preference for factory farming practices and the grave environment impact of meat consumption. Guilt by association much?
Reddit has decided to allow one form of legal(?) content (invasive, sexually exploitative photos) but disallow another (publicizing the name of people who post such photos). By doing so, they are explicitly privileging the former over the latter and that is a moral preference.
The Reddit community is all in favor of free speech when women are being harassed, but opposes free speech when the name of a harasser is being published.
In other words, this is not about free speech at all.
I do not take issue with your line of argument re: free speech, though I disagree with it.
I do take strong issue with your baseless ad hominem attack against every person who works for Reddit. Their actions (or rather, lack thereof) is not an "expression of moral preference" for the harassment of women.
That portion of your post was deliberately intellectually dishonest to the highest and most vindictive degree.
Note that if you take my “okay/not okay” sentence that you half-quoted, and substitute “allowed on Reddit/not allowed on Reddit”, it is literally fact. I do not agree that going from “allowed on Reddit” to “okay” is dishonest. The company is aware of both the harassment and the doxxing, and they have chosen to allow the former but ban the latter, and having done so, they cannot claim neutrality.
You keep saying that, I don't think "apparently positions" means what you think it means.
The position of the company is simply: "Reddit does not allow doxxing" - like I said before, any extrapolations on Reddit's intent is your own. Reddit's failure to prevent creepshots content does NOT
IT DOES NOT (repeated because you apparently don't get it) imply a "moral preference that it's okay to harass women".
This is no different than someone turning a blind eye to bullying. You can imply a certain lack of moral fortitude, or even argue that turning a blind eye enables bullies, but to go from that to "this implies you have a moral preference for bullies" is just complete nonsense.
I don't have a problem with the above arguments - the enabler and the lack of moral fiber, heck, I agree with that stance in many ways. What I do have a problem with is your wild extrapolations and presenting them as fact. Do you have any evidence that Reddit has an expressed "moral preference for the harassment of women"?!
This is ad hominem and smearing at its worst.
> "they cannot claim neutrality."
No, perhaps they can't. But you're shifting the topic again. You came out with an ad hominem appeal to emotion argument that was as completely unsubstantiated and inferred as it is inflammatory - that is what I'm challenging you on. You can't go around claiming "company X has an expressed moral preference for sexual harassment" with your sole reasoning being "they fail to stop it from happening".
You are sensationalizing and arguing from an incredibly disingenuous position.
> Reddit's position against doxxing means Reddit is against doxxing - any further extrapolations are your own. Reddit's stance on doxxing may result in women being harassed and photographed in compromising situations, but that in no way means that, quote, "Reddit is expressing the moral preference that it’s okay to harass women and photograph them in compromising positions".
Reddit (as a company) has taken a position that enables harassment of women instead of taking the right action to police their own site from content in the same league as doxxing. A stance against doxxing followed up by actions that excuse the very things that lead to doxxing in the first place is a symptom of a cover your ass mentality that shows Reddit staff could give a shit less about actually cleaning up the site they run.
That is fair, but where is the link between that and "expresses a moral preference" for the harassment of women?
You can say (and it would be reasonably fair) that Reddit's actions (or lack thereof) enables deplorable behavior - but that's long, long, long, LONG way from condoning or preferring it.
I don't take issue with the fact that people find Reddit's stance problematic. I do take issue when people go off the rails and essentially resort to ad hominem character attacks and smearing.
A lot of people do believe that though, sadly "with us or against us" is really really common.
What about anonymity should be valued, period, end of story? Otherwise "some are more equal than others"...
Reddit banned jailbait because it was bound to host a lot of illegal material, not because it was disgusting.
> You don't get to provide material support for a site and at the same time say "we're not responsible for it".
I understand their position as "we materially support everything that interest some people and doesn't break the law, irrespective of our personal opinion about it". It means sometimes supporting stuff they might sometimes find personally appalling, just as a lawyer sometimes has to try and get out of jail a person he personally despises.
Besides, supporting freedom of speech forces to support questionable expressions: speeches which don't offend anyone don't need to be protected.
That is a morality! That's a moral decision.
What I'm disagreeing with is the notion you proposed that reddit could be "amoral". Every decision you make has a moral component; keeping /r/creepshots alive is one of them.
I understand it to be more of an economic/legal decision, not moral. Laws are crafted after morals, but following the law does not make you morally sound. It only allows you to maintain your freedom by avoiding prosecution.
> Every decision you make has a moral component;
What we're discussing here is the moral motivation (or lack of it) of Reddit. Any moral implications it has for the population are irrelevant.
Here, I see how you could say they made a moral decision. But in this case they made one moral decision of essentially "We allow all legal speech here". After they made that call, there is no further moral decision in keeping any particular, (legal) thread alive.
Had they decided "We will exercise some editorial discretion beyond just what is needed to comply with the law" then every single thread becomes a moral decision.
If you want to be precise, reddit has made the single moral decision that they will permit (legal) free-speech and beyond that point they have chosen to be amoral.
Fair, I overreached there.
> reddit has made the single moral decision that they will permit (legal) free-speech
except for doxing, of course. Except for hate speech. Except for spam. Except for gawker (whoops, no that was by accident). Except for...
> reddit has made the single moral decision that they will permit (legal) free-speech and beyond that point they have chosen to be amoral
1) As I stated above, that falls apart when you look at it closely. Reddit indeed tries to minimally muck around with content, but it certainly does do so.
2) You can't substitute legality for morality and call it amorality; all you can do is align your morality with the law if you choose to do so.
Imagine an alternate universe where the internet existed during Jim Crow, and Georgia law required it to have black and white websites. According to the "law supersedes morality" theory, they could morally segregate white and black users in Georgia.
Obviously that's a ludicrous scenario for many reasons, but I think Jim Crow laws are an excellent illustration of the divergence of morality and legality. Choosing to follow the law is a moral decision, and you can't wish that away.
This is especially true in sentencing. For a minor traffic violation, a cop has discretion to say "You were speeding, but you have a totally clean record and it wasn't much, this time you get a warning." Most people want them to be able to do that and it is a mostly moral judgement. A prosecutor can say, "You met all the technical definitions of the crime, but you had extenuating circumstances. I decline to prosecute." Sometimes that is based on either law (the extenuating circumstance, like self defense, is explicitly recognized), or the evidence (its a close call whether they could win and they have "bigger fish to fry"), but sometimes its a straight moral call. Often we want them to be able to make that moral call.
With judges it depends on the jurisdiction, but they often have enormous discretion once it comes to sentencing. In many jurisdictions, the legislature hands out some guidelines, but just guidelines. The same crime might get many years in prison or probation, depending on the judge's moral decision about whether that instance of the crime was heinous or more excusable and whether the judge thinks that person is a career criminal or someone who gave into temptation once.
They must follow the law, but within the law we as a society explicitly hand out a lot of discretion at different points and we expect part of that discretion to be used to make moral calls within the framework of the law.
This is incorrect. They have banned 'distasteful content' and they have banned posts due to pressure from advertisers. Reddit is behaving extremely hypocritical and their PR on this subject is just nonsense. People shouldn't post on subjects on which they don't even have a basic understanding. I don't mean to sound rude, but this post is getting the most votes as of this writing and it's just flat out wrong.
I should add that this is not direct pressure from their advertisers, but from their parent company, Condé Nast. I'm sure that Sears is and advertiser for at least some Condé Nast properties, so it's effectively the same, though with an extra level of indirection.
This isn't just "Advertiser gets a post banned they don't like", this is "Advertiser asks partner to pull down an exploit". Framing it as the former makes it sound like a capricious, moralizing decision.
Stalking is not merely "distasteful":
- But the girls don't know!
- Bullshit. We know. Every time.
- But we took these photos in public!
- Bullshit. You took the photos from down below or up above.
Taking upskirt photos of minors is not merely "distasteful":
- But these girls are too sexy to be minors!
- Bullshit. Did you ask for an ID?
- Bullshit. Child porn is illegal everywhere.
Hosting said upskirts is not merely "distasteful":
- But we didn't know!
- Bullshit. You knew, and you profited.
- But we are protecting free speech!
- Bullshit. Rape- and pedophile-adjacent porn is not free speech.
Let's call a pig, a pig. We are talking about a forum whose sole purpose is to make and distribute pornographic photos of children and young women.
By the way, an almost identical set of arguments happened around Amazon's defense of its sale of a book titled "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover's Code of Conduct". Amazon defended the book with the usual "if we stop selling it, Freedom Of Speech will die", and Amazon apologists made arguments very similar to yours. A few weeks later, they voluntarily took down Wikileaks because "It is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren't putting innocent people in jeopardy."
The protection of freedom of speech is fundamental, and one that Reddit is standing by.
The usage of that freedom of speech is a personal responsibility. Reddit nor any other organization can be held responsible for the consequences of using that freedom of speech in ways that others may find objectionable or questionable.
Reddit the organization is entirely in the right here. To say otherwise would be to misplace responsibility and fundamentally change the idea of free speech that the US—and surely the internet—has enjoyed for many years.
The author of the article, however, sure thinks he's got some moral high groung alright. I implore him to get off his high horse.
* Reddit is not the government, so yes, we cannot have them arrested. And no one wants them arrested- literally zero people. But yes, they can be held financially responsible and be made into the pariah of the civilized world.
* Even barring that, your freedom of speech only extends so far until it begins harming the safety of others. Creepshots, specifically, was showing easily identifiable women in compromising positions and actively encouraging that subreddit's community to create more of this kind of content. Without the knowledge of their victims, they trample over their right to a reasonable expectation of safety and privacy.
I've been a member of Reddit for 6 years- just 1 year shy of their entire existence. It's still, by far, my most visited site every day. My favorite subreddits all tend to be niche these days, like /r/ainbow, /r/python, and /r/kpop. Most of the 'defaults' I'm not even subscribed to, because of a way of thinking that honestly reeks of people who have never been under legitimate threat in their lives, yet feel entitled to expose others to it. Well, that and crappy reposts.
Once again: No one wants Reddit arrested. That's what the freedom of speech is about. However, the freedom of speech does not, by any measure, mean that you should not be exposed to the consequences of your speech. You should.
And safety is also a bit odd to bring up here. There certainly is a reasonable expectation of safety in public in the legal sense. In what situation is there ever a lack of the expectation of safety to such a degree that it could be used as a defense by someone harming you?
If I followed you around and discreetly recorded everything I saw during a shopping trip and when you got home, there's a good chance that I could do all kinds of damaging things to you with the information I collected. I could be unpleasant (spoiling your kid's birthday surprise). I could be very unpleasant (spoiling your surprise proposal to your financee because I just watched you collect the ring). I could be downright criminal (identity theft, fraud, and the like).
I think many of us would consider that sort of "tailing someone" behaviour to be more than a little creepy, but it's important to understand there are good practical reasons for that instinctive negative reaction beyond just "I don't find it comfortable" (though the latter is important as well).
Modern technology allow us to do many wonderful things that we couldn't before, but also quite a few nasty things that we couldn't do before or that didn't have such serious consequences before. It's about time we stopped trying to apply privacy from 1912 to the world in 2012, and started asking why the principle of privacy is important and what it really means today.
Spoiling my kid's birthday surprise might make you a dick, but I don't want it to make you a criminal. It's also hard to see a good way to enforce this kind of thing. As long as all a person is doing is visiting public places, then lacking a specific compelling reason (e.g., restraining orders issued by a judge), I'm not sure you should be able to prevent someone else from visiting those same public places.
These are definitely issues that are going to become more important as the amount of data we generate continues to grow. But right now, I think the balance is actually pretty good. The government probably has too many rights to collect information on you, but for private parties, I don't have a huge problem with things as they stand.
The best I've come up with so far is that when it comes to prior restraint, you have to consider (a) whether there is an effective remedy to undo any damage after the fact, and (b) whether there is any legitimate reason to do whatever you're proposing to restrain, and if so, what the adverse consequences might be. Then it's a balance, and personally I think it's safest to bias against any form of prior restraint if it's not a clear case.
In this case, once a severe privacy invasion has taken place, often the consequences are permanent. Sure, your kid might have another birthday and still enjoy the new toy, but you'll probably never get another chance to propose in the way you've spent the last six months planning and see the look on your wife-to-be's face before she says yes. I would have no problem with severely punishing someone who thought it was OK to deliberately spoil that kind of special, once-in-a-lifetime moment. On a more objectively measurable level, you'll never get back the three months of your life that you'll probably spend chasing banks and fixing your credit records if someone steals your identity.
I'll note in passing that none of this is the really bad stuff, which is less likely from my example of just being followed around for an afternoon but all too possible in a world of ever-increasing surveillance and data mining. The really bad stuff is probably when your career and/or private life get destroyed by an untrue allegation that taints your reputation irreparably. No amount of retractions and apologies printed later is going to remove the cloud of having once been accused of privately being a little too friendly with children, or abusing your spouse, or botching a medical procedure that left a patient permanently disabled, or stealing your client's private records and selling them to the competition.
That's the "can the damage be undone" side of things, so what about the damage from restricting the other action?
When it comes to someone following someone else around and systematically recording their behaviour, I find it hard to see any legitimate reason for doing it at all, other than genuine security/law enforcement considerations, in which case the usual caveats about due process and independent oversight must apply.
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about merely being in the same places as someone else here. That could happen coincidentally, and clearly there is a severe negative consequence to trying to prevent one person moving freely just because another happened to go the same way, as well as it being completely unrealistic. I'm more concerned about the kind of active surveillance I mentioned, such as someone deliberately following you and recording their observations. Perhaps more realistically, I don't see any real difference in privacy terms between that scenario and the use of an automated surveillance system that allows a similar picture to be built later by data mining, whether that is from CCTV cameras and facial analysis around town, or a cell provider recording the location of your phone, or your ISP logging all your Internet activity, or Google/Facebook tracking your web browsing history via beacons, bugs and other dubious practices. If anything, the latter type of surveillance is worse, because at least you can see the guy following you around and peering over your shoulder or through your home window.
(In case anyone's wondering, the proposal-related example came to mind because a popular wedding venue near where I live recently burned down. Obviously if that was a deliberate act of arson then it was criminal anyway, and the loss of the buildings and revenue to the operators was severe, but the really heartbreaking thing reading those stories was the idea that what should have been the happiest day of some couples' lives was going to be ruined because there wouldn't be time to make other arrangements. When it comes to issues like privacy, it is often the personal, emotional consequences rather than some measurable financial or practical cost that are the most damaging, and I think it is regrettable that many legal systems seem to assign little if any weight to such harm.)
Reddit nor any other organization can be held responsible
for the consequences of using that freedom of speech in
ways that others may find objectionable or questionable.
Obviously there's freedom of people to boycott his employer if they don't like them employing him, and his employer has freedom to fire him if they don't want to deal with any such consequences, but all that being said...
Isn't there something deeply disturbing about people holding his employer responsible for his freedom to speak when it's wholly unconnected with their business, but not holding Reddit accountable for his freedom to speak, when it's their business to allow him to speak?
Why aren't these two things the same?
I hold quite a few controversial opinions, and in the last year or two I increasingly feel unsafe when expressing them on the internet. I do not fear governments, but I do fear witch hunts, and I fear automatic indexing/flagging of my speech by corporations. The recent doxxing scandals are not helping my peace of mind, and neither do the firings of people who get "exposed".
The original version of "freedom of speech" only said that the government should not persecute people for speech. That was certainly a great idea, when the government was the only entity that could realistically persecute you. Today we additionally have huge corporations and online hiveminds that can and will punish you for what you say. Other "human rights" that have sprung up in the last century acknowledge the new reality, e.g. people get protected from discrimination by private companies, not just by the government. Freedom of speech is lagging behind: a company cannot fire you for being black, but can fire you for your online conversations outside of work.
> Freedom of speech is lagging behind: a company cannot fire you for being black, but can fire you for saying "vile" things online under a pseudonym.
You changed that, likely because you realized that companies have always fired people for saying "vile" things publicly outside of work. Which is why pseudonyms have always existed.
Nothing's changed about freedom of speech. It's just that it's not so easy to hide the vile things you say online as it was, say, 10 years ago.
Sometimes the definition of vile has meant, "Argued for democracy", or, "Came out as gay", or, "said my religion was false", or, "suggested reforming the government".
Freedom of speech must in many ways mean the freedom to be a despicable scuzz, because freedom means divergence. And divergence frequently (to the horror of the mainstream) includes divergence from morality.
I am profoundly impressed with the need for anonymity, pseudonymity, and free speech for all of us, because otherwise we are simply limiting truth telling, the capability for reform and improving our collective lot.
Ah, but the crux is how you define "freedom of speech". After all, in the USA (AFAIK), it's legal to publish the personal details of a reddit user (which is exactly what gawker did here). And yet that is not allowed on reddit. Reddit have already decided "some things are legal, but we won't allow them here".
So you have to look at what sort of speech they protect (sexual photos of children, sexual photos of people without their consent) and what sort of speech they don't protect ("outing" people who take photos of people without their consent).
Did you read their justification for this?
"Outing" people leads directly to harassment. It's happened plenty of times in the past to make a fair assumption that it will happen in the future as well. This is the reality of the situation.
The reason you can't allow it at all is there is no good way to enforce that "outing" someone is appropriate or correct in any given instance or that the person being "outed" is the person attached to said Reddit identity at all.
So that rule protects direct harm from being done on users of Reddit.
Agreed. But so does 'trying to take photos of a women's secondary sexual organs without her knowledge or consent' (creepshots). So shouldn't that be banned as well?
Does it? If the person in question never visited the sub-reddit in question, would they even know the photo existed?
You say that like it's a bad thing.
2. Violentacrez is being harassed for unnecessary acts he CHOOSE to do (violating people's privacy). His victims did NOT choose to be violeted by him. He forced himself upon him. You are right that it is not comparable.
3. Violentacrez is an adult. He can change his name and move away for a fresh start, or obtain a firearm for protection. His young victims often will not have neither of those options.
The issue here is not that others are finding freedom of speech objectionable. Rather, Reddit as a privately run website has created a system in which people committing (legal) violations of people's privacy and safety can find an outlet to encourage and promote those behaviors and actions. Creating a space for people who are acting unethically while profiting from user traffic and advertising is hugely unethical and Reddit staff should rightly be called out on it.
Reddit as a whole promotes the viewpoints of the most privileged, which is why spaces like creepshots and jailbait found a home on Reddit in the first place. The flaws and pain that Reddit causes should be identified and proclaimed loudly such that other people can see just what Reddit is (hint: it's not a happy land of free speech and community).
But where is the line? Is /r/atheism a space for acting unethically because they know certain people will be deeply offended? /r/trees for advocating, even glorifying, an illegal activity?
So, while I don't personally think they are equivalent on an offensiveness scale (I personally don't find /r/trees or /r/atheism offensive at all), somebody might. Should reddit censor those subreddits too? Maybe they should allow people to take a vote on controversial subreddits every week and remove the ones that don't make the cut? I don't know.
I am not defending CreepyShots. I am trying to start a conversation that might lead to some answers that I simply don't have. How do we defend open expression of ideas while censoring things? Is it possible? How offensive does something have to be to reach the censorship threshold? Is there a better test (e.g. legality (doh! /r/trees) or potential danger to others (doh! /r/athiesm)?) Can we let the mob decide on a periodic basis?
I know how I personally deal with it. I just don't subscribe to those subreddits.
> I am not defending CreepyShots. I am trying to start a conversation that might lead to some answers that I simply don't have. How do we defend open expression of ideas while censoring things?
Creepshots isn't just about ideas, it was a community which promoted and encouraged actual, physical acts that violated the privacy and safety of others. Again, this isn't just about speech, Reddit created a space that endorsed and promoted what those assholes in creepshots were doing all while the owners of Reddit profited and did nothing to keep the overall site safe for those targeted by users of creepshots. Again, they are not obligated to do so, but they should sure as hell be called out on it and feel the consequences of that.
> I know how I personally deal with it. I just don't subscribe to those subreddits.
I'm sure many of the women that ended up in pictures on creepshots didn't subscribe to it, but that doesn't help them when they have been violated or when those photos are used by some weirdo to target that person for more of the same treatment. Saying "just ignore it" is the kind of derailment that perpetuates sexism and racism, hence why you are de facto supporting creepshots.
This is very solid argument and could make for a very good test.
"Could this subreddit reasonably pose a direct physical danger to someone without their consent?"
The 'without their consent' avoids arguments against home chemistry subreddits and things like that.
"Is this subreddit at least partially about the expression of some idea?"
If the answer is in the affirmative, the first test might have to be re visited. For example, a subreddit dedicated to the overthrow of a government might strictly fail the first test but the crux of the subreddit might be the exchange of ideas on that topic.
I can get behind the removal of subreddits based on these questions.
FYI, it's in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in most countries legislative corpus.
A better way to frame the question would be "what is the speech that is free", which is much more nuanced and interesting (e.g. is hate speech ok? religious blasphemy? stuff putting personal or national security at risk? Gossip? Holocaust denial? Lese majeste?).
But, in every case I can think of, freedom of speech is a right except for cases explicitly forbidden by some law.
So if reddit's defense is "we permit everything unless it's illegal" the case would be the same in most democratic countries and some non democratic ones, just shifting whhere the legal bar is set.
For the curious:
Why are you making that assumption? Nothing was said about the goodness of it. The fact was simply stated that reddit considers it important, so they uphold it. You don't have to agree with reddit, nobody is saying everyone has to uphold free speech everywhere.
That is not how Reddit works. There is some entirely legal things you could print in the USA that are against Reddit's rules. They do not allow publishing of personal information. They have already said "This is legal speech, but we don't want it here"
Because it can directly kill the community off - it's a self preservation measure.
Do creepy, sexually harassing people deserve to be free of the consequences of their free speech? No. Free speech means the government can't ban it, it doesn't mean you are immune to the social consequences.
If free speech protects you when you post sexy photos of minors, then surely it should protect the free speech of someone who names you.
There is another good reason for a sitewide ban on personal info, that being that if the internet is good at one thing, it's generating outrage. Outrage + Large amount of anonymous people = witch hunts. And I don't care if the guy's a serial rapist (which he isn't, not that you could tell with the acid-dipped keyboards in play) witch hunts are never a good thing. Accusations are thrown and innocent people's lives are impacted based on the flimsiest of evidence sometimes. Best to ban that outright and let people organize their raids elsewhere.
I also assume it would put them (the site owners) on shaky legal ground.
Reddit bans four things that I know of. Personal info, illegal pictures of minors, exploits targeting the users, and spam. There are very good justifications for every one of those.
If the local KKK chapter -- a completely legal entity and one that enjoys the protection of free speech -- holds happy hour at my bar, I can either let them stay or kick them out. Let's say I let them stay, as long as they pay for their beers and not cause any ruckus. Understandably, the non-KKK part of my clientele may feel uncomfortable.
If the rest of the community decides to boycott my bar, are you saying that they, not I, am at a fault in regards to principles of freedom? The financial consequences of a boycott that my bar incurred is what I would consider, "being held responsible."
Why is that so hard for people? People want to make reddit responsible for everything that happens there. But the users are the ones who are actually doing the posting.
Let's recognize the truth: that those users are the relevant moral agents when it comes to their posts, not reddit. Reddit's not responsible for violentacrez' fate any more than it was responsible for his posts.
It's my choice whether I exert control or not. It's Reddit's choice not to exert control, and of course they're responsible for the consequences of their non-control.
To my mind, they took the money. taking the money and then saying they're not responsible for his fate is not the moral high ground. It may be pragamatic, it may be just business, but it's hardly laudable.
Unlike a real-world nightclub, individual subreddits are separated. In a real-world nightclub, you're automatically exposed to everyone else there, since you're sharing the same physical space. On reddit, you have to purposely enter a subbreddit (aside from the default ones, the curation of which is something I would agree is the responsibility of reddit-central).
> It's Reddit's choice not to exert control, and of course they're responsible for the consequences of their non-control.
They're responsible for the consequences of their non-control? In my book, control and responsibility go together.
To what extent (if any) do you believe that reddit users are responsible for their own posts?
Is the president of the USA responsible for your actions? Why or why not?
So I'm not arguing with your basic feelings about personal responsibility, but at the same time, I'm not granting that if someone is responsible for their actions, it's a given that nobody else is responsible for the consequences.
When something bad happens, we can apportion responsibility for it. Sometimes one party is fully responsible for the bad thing. But other times, some other party is partly responsible, which must mean that the first party is not fully responsible.
If you're going to argue that party B is 20% responsible for a bad thing, then party A is at most 80% responsible. Party A can still be 100% wrong (they shouldn't have changed lane) but they're not 100% responsible.
We are both 100% wrong and responsible. We each get the maximum sentence for assault.
We enlist the assistance of a friend to drive for us. we don't tell him what we're up to, but it's clear that the activity will be nefarious. he chooses not to call the cops, and he gets a lesser sentence.
He's less responsible, but his being less responsible doesn't reduce our responsibility, just as the two of us conspiring doesn't reduce responsibility to one half on account of the fact that either one of us could have called it off and just eaten the pies for dessert.
For criminal liability, it is exactly how you describe. Each actor is individually responsible for their actions, the actions of others don't reduce this.
However, for civil liability, there's an apportionment of damages based on a share of responsibility. Say the random YC user sued you, the other poster, and your friend. First, the damages against him would be quantified. This is based on the impact to him, not any moral judgment on your actions. Then, a jury would decide how much of the blame each of you was responsible for, and your liability would be that percentage of the overall damages.
Don't you? If they're hurting your other customers that's your responsibility. But if someone gets into a fight in your nightclub and gets fired from his job because if it, I think you have every right to shrug and walk away.
>To my mind, they took the money. taking the money and then saying they're not responsible for his fate is not the moral high ground. It may be pragamatic, it may be just business, but it's hardly laudable.
I don't know; to my mind they didn't so much take the fruits of his labour like an employee (as Nike essentially did with Armstrong) as sell him a service; he was their customer as much as anything else. To my mind that puts Reddit in the same camp as the printers who'll put whatever you want on a poster and not ask what you're doing with it, or the gun store who sells you a weapon no questions asked, or the casino or wine merchants who let you spend all your money (I don't mention the drug dealer since I believe Reddit blocks anything outright illegal). Some of those businesses are pretty scummy, but they're also some of freedom's greatest defenders.
Someone makes a website dedicated to hosting creepy but legal photos. Is the webhost, even though it makes (shudder) money from hosting the material, responsible for it, or for what consequences the author might face for publishing it? I'm pretty sure that debate ended with a pretty resounding no last time around, and I'm not sure why reddit is much different.
Because look at the result. Sexual photos of underage girls. Taking photos of up women's skirts without their permission or knowledge. Something is wrong here.
There are other options available to them. The major problem that I have with Reddit at the moment is the idea that somehow Adrien Chen's behavior was more egregious than Michael Brutsch.
Brutsch is living by the sword and dying by the sword. Reddit has to at some point contend with the fact that being internet famous means that you are actually famous (or infamous as the case may be).
There are consequences to fame and infamy, and Reddit can't claim that it does awesome things lifting people up, and collecting for charities, without acknowledging that anti-social behaviors will also have consequences.
There is a place for anonymous free speech. And the more notoriety one gains, the harder it is to protect anonymity, and, justly i think, the harder it should be to make the case that one should remain anonymous.
With great power comes great responsibility. (this comment may sound like a platitude coming at the end of what i've written. It's not, and if anyone wants to discuss it i'd be happy to furnish examples.)
...which is a way of saying, I'm sure you're right that there are several other choices Reddit can make, some of which it may be making behind closed doors...
I think that they can champion free speech at the same time recognizing that free speech and notoriety have consequences. Doxxing is a problem, but a lack of accountability is also an issue. If Reddit wants to consider itself akin to a nation state (which its CEO has asserted), the question of accountability is a very real and very material one.
That I think is the real crux of the issue, not whether or not they stand behind Michael Brutsch's odious behavior (to be more specific. They can stand behind him or not, that's not the important problem. Brutsch is just one man. What about all of the other future Brutsches?).
Reddit staff have also been intentionally hands off of controversial subreddits. Those are choices they have made, and they have defended their mods and the culture that they're fostering. I agree with Reg that Reddit is currently behaving inconsistently, but I don't entirely agree with Reg's two prescriptions to address the inconsistency.
Just to make that clear, I think Gawker was wrong in revealing personal information, but I think that’s more a general disagreement with journalistic ethics and culture in the USA. There personal information is in general much more often and frequently revealed than where I come from (Germany).
I use the term because Reddit uses the term, and my intent was to characterize their feelings on the subject. I don't personally think that Gawker actually did maliciously leak ViolentAcrez's personal information. I think that they were reporting legitimately on someone at the center of a controversy who has chosen to put himself there.
All the free pizzas in the world don't make up for the fact the admins knowingly provide hosting for a community which encourages men to follow women around in public trying to take pictures up their skirts or down their blouses.
The only way you can stop it is by censoring the Internet, thus human thought. That's going to prove unpopular no matter where you fall politically, but especially bodes unwell here.
Sneaking pictures of people's bodies isn't about human thought, but it is a part of institutional sexism.
Not arguing with you, just curious. What year was this approximately? And which group?
I just googled and see there is an a.b.p.e.upskirts one now, but I don't know when that was created. Could've been there all the while.
Should the people advocating for legalization of marijuana lose their community? Should /r/atheism be silenced for being offensive? Should MensRights be removed? Should MyLittlePony be banned for being vaguely creepy?
I don't agree in the slightest with the CreepShots subreddit and what it stands for but blatantly offensive subreddits might be doing a service as lightning rods for censorship advocates. If those firewalls fall we may find ourselves fighting for subreddits that might actually have some value even if some people don't agree with the views that are bred there.
> I don't agree in the slightest with the CreepShots subreddit and what it stands for but blatantly offensive subreddits might be doing a service as lightning rods for censorship advocates.
This issue isn't about censorship, even though there are always those folks calling for censorship when stories like these break. The highly offensive subreddit communities that perpetuate racism and sexism are not helping anyone, but are instead creating a space that encourages continued racism and sexism, esp. physical actions like stalking that are directly harmful to people. These subreddits do not create a stronger community or provide some kind of example of how Reddit can or should be. That the Reddit staff continues to condone those subreddits while profiting off of that user traffic is the worst kind of behavior the owners of a site can take.
I disagree. They have helped me. How? I live in a very nice bubble, for the most part. In many ways, these issues don't exist in my day-to-day life. It is valuable to me to see that there are still assholes in the world. Granted, I know this on a very abstract level, but sometimes it is good to get smacked by the reality of a situation. It enhances my empathy and keeps me from the easy path of dismissal. This is also the reason, to a lesser degree, that I visit news sites that I know I will disagree with and I occasionally get in pointless internet arguments with their die-hard fans. Is that enough to keep them from censorship? Probably not, but there is /some/ value there.
I think people are being a bit rough on the reddit crew, the decisions they have to make aren't clear or obvious.
FWIW, I'm fully on the side of banning reddits like creepshots and jailbait, but I understand that making those decisions takes time and deliberation, and that sometimes you make the wrong call.
They used to be, and that's one of the things that made the community great. The decision was always this: If it's illegal or spam, it's not allowed. If it's not illegal or spam, it's allowed.
That was a refreshingly transparent way to run a community, and had they stuck to that principle, their decisions would have continued to be simple and obvious. But as soon as they started to feel some media backlash, they turned their back on the idea of transparency and instead opened Pandora's Box of vague policies and case-by-case judgment calls.
I sympathize with those who say that r/jailbait was "over the line", but reddit's decision to ban it was the Wrong Call.
Children focused “jailbait” forums typically
include photos of minors on a beach in splashing around
in bathing suits, a youngster practicing gymnastics,
students in school with the picture taken from a
low-angle, from-the-behind etc. and are peppered with
comments about genitals, looks and rape. The more
adult-oriented “creepshot” forum typically include
non-consensual “upskirt” photos of women’s crotches,
breasts, as well private photographs that were shared
with boyfriends, exes, being circulated for commentary
If that is accurate, I don’t see how anyone could think the actions of taking such photos, sharing them publicly and encouraging more to be taken, are victimless actions, or are even remotely defensible under the banner of “free speech”. Intimidating and harassing others and sharing recognizable photos without their consent is not “free speech”.
If Reddit wanted to take the moral high ground they would need to realize that while certain content may technically be legal, it should not be encouraged and welcomed by their community.
More in this great (but long) article by Zeynep Tufekci, which I've quoted above: http://technosociology.org/?p=1135
I think Raganwald's points are well taken because they relate to the Reddit company's mission as a provider of free-speech, not as a provider of things you find distasteful.
I have never seen this on reddit, ever, unless you don't understand sarcasm or can't take a joke.
> sexism as the default,
Really? That's funny, because I'm pretty sure there's a preponderance of Internet White Knights on reddit, and I've never seen sexism that went ignored.
> exploitation of women as often as possible.
That's a gross hyperbole. I don't see how reddit 'exploits' women in any way.
> /r/Jailbait was over the line of sexualising children.
/r/jailbait was sexualizing young adults, many of whom were be perfectly legal in their given jurisdiction, many of whom were going out of their way to be sexualized. The moderation of /r/jailbait was exceedingly strict in preventing the sexualization of children.
I hope people upvote you just because you provided such a concise summary of every bad argument used to defend reddit.
Or do you think we should still be mourning six million Jews? Slavery? Cancer? AIDS? Terrorism?
We're all going to die some day. We're all going to go through some horrible shit before we die. At least some of us can laugh about it.
I'd never been to /r/creepshots, and I'm not blaming anyone with regards to /r/jailbait - I don't know what blame there is to place.
There were many pictures in /r/jailbait well below 16, which is the lowest common age of consent in the US (which is where most of the photos seemed to be from). That's far from "young adult".
To quote Noam Chomsky:
> Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're really in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech for precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech.
There are free speech issues at play here, but I think they have more to do with balancing people's need for privacy versus the right of people to make and share media of things that happen in public.
(That said, a lot of images in those communities are just stolen from other people's Facebook streams anyway, so it's also an issue of privacy.)
Draw a clear line. But be careful where you draw the line. In the 50s, a reddit about interracial marriage might have been considered harmful and in some places illegal.
Wherever you draw it, remember the right is going to use it to say any subreddit about gays is actually about pedophiles.
And mob justice against people who violate your social norms goes both ways. In many countries that serves to further victimize victims of oppression, e.g. http://feministing.com/2012/10/18/well-you-did-dare-to-speak...
And that's the point. What is and isn't acceptable is fluid and subjective. Reddit says "If it's not illegal, it's OK. Talk to your lawmaker if you don't like it." Which is the same stance search engines take as well.
Reddit doesn't have to be, and I don't think should be, an arbiter of legality, let alone taste. People are complaining at the wrong people, just because they're closest.
Basically, reddit is the early-21st century's Usenet. That's all there is to it.
Why not generalize a bit further and say, "The Internet is a bastion of some fairly horrible groups"?
Reddit could choose not to allow the horrible side of humanity to use their platform. Even tumblr has standards. There will always be awful parts of human nature, but through our moral choices we minimize or promote them.
And just because it's been done for decades doesn't make it right. Remember, this whole thing is about morals, not about law.
And in this case, the people publishing those photos (gawker) are hypocritically bashing other people for publishing much less invasive photos (reddit). So the idea that the invasion of celebrities privacy is looked down on already seems a bit unrealistic.
>Cyberbullies taking pictures with their phones behind someone's back for fake internet points that give them some sort of credence in their community is just flat-out disgusting.
You just keep stating your opinion as if it were a logical answer to the question. I understand that you feel that way. I am not asking what you feel. I am asking how gawker's photos are less bad than creepshots. I don't think taking pictures of fully clothed people in public areas is disgusting, so expecting me to suddenly just take your word for it is pretty silly.
Having standards isn't throwing freedom out the window. Regardless of whether or not Reddit's stance is to be as neutral as possible, those involved with the growth and monetization of the site need to address this before someone else does if they want the site to continue to thrive.
That's why there are subreddits.
The random woman on the street does not voluntarily choose to have a picture of her posted all over the internet for perverts to ogle.
Note that this difference is important legally -- beating up a paparazzi is a crime, but beating up a pervert taking creepshots of your wife/daughter is either not a crime or would not be realistically prosecutable.
Everyone knows that cycling's been big on doping for years. It can hardly even be called cheating, it's tacitly acknowledged that everyone's on drugs. It's been well established that all of Lance's competitors were doping as well. When your choices are take drugs, or don't compete, is it really cheating?
The real problem in cycling is the moral outrage around doping. Doping isn't cheating, it's the way the game is played. If you want to compete, that's the price of admission.
Nike's a giant publicly traded corporation with an obligation to their shareholders. Their main product is their brand (which is used to sell goods). They did what they needed to do to protect their brand. As far as pretending that they didn't know about Lance, I consider that a white lie. Everyone has known that Lance doped for years. Nike feigning ignorance is a fiction needed to prevent retaliation from moralists with their heads in the sand, a constituency that sadly cannot be ignored.
You're right doping doesn't level the playing field. However, for better or worse it's part of the playing field. Of course, nothing about pro sports is ever fair. Money matters even taking drugs out of the equation. It buys you better bikes, trainers, doctors, training facilities, etc.
As far as some people responding better to drugs, well sports are pretty heavily defined by our bodies. Responding well to drugs is analogous to responding well to training, it's an asset for an athlete to have in today's world.
This argument bothers me, and it's one used by people who speed.
If all of the cyclists dope, then they have a separate game. They're not cheating at that separate game. They are, however, breaking the rules set out by the UCI (or whoever.)
Performance enhancing drugs are against the rules; using them is cheating. Similarly, speeding is against the law. That makes it illegal. The fact that hardly anyone abides by the rules doesn't mean the rules don't exist.
> If you want to compete, that's the price of admission.
Someone on /r/cycling mentioned a baseball player from the McGwire days. The player stood up and publicly said (paraphrasing) "Look, everyone is on steroids. If they want to be on steroids, fine. At least acknowledge that it's happening. The real problem, though, is the people who don't want to be on steroids. People who are cheating are forcing everyone else to take PEDs to keep up."
That's not okay.
What about Gawker's free speech?
When people post creepshots (photos of people without their knowledge), we hear that "We can't ban them, because of free speech". When people post personal details of people who take creepshots, suddenly free speech doesn't apply anymore, and it's all about potential personal harm. What about potential personal harm with creepshots?
And what might that be? An upskirt picture absent any other context (a face, a name, a location, a timestamp) might as well be anonymous. I understand that the subject of that image might be rightly scandalized were they to find out, but if they don't?
Is someone really harmed by someone else getting off to an image of their body absent their knowledge of this?
Imagine we institutionalized it- we'll take pictures of random people, including maybe you, in the bathroom in as embarassing a way as possible, and distribute it only to people you don't know. Ha ha! What a riot! They get a good laugh at your expense, you know its happening but cant do anything about it. Feel safe and confident now?
Its morally reprehensible to violate someones privacy in this way. We all suffer when its enabled by anyone.
But we aren't, so this entire hypothetical is out on its arse. Let's deal with the reality instead of a reduction to the absurd.
>They know its happening. They know its supported by the hosting organization.
How? Honest curious question, how many people know these pictures have been taken and are up on some random internet site?
And I'm guessing millions now know - how many is enough by your estimate?
That doesn't qualify as institutionalized to me. The existence of /b/ doesn't equate to institutionalization of trolling.
>And I'm guessing millions now know - how many is enough by your estimate?
I was referring to the subjects of the images, not the people who post them.
I would have thought this is a non-controversial opinion. I'm suprised that people think it's OK to take sexy photos of under 18 girls without their knowledge and consenst, and post them on the internet and people can't see what's wrong with this?!
Of course you're on your own. Reddit shouldn't be held responsible for what people say on it anymore than AT&T should be held responsible for what people say on the phone.
Tell that to the government.
Part of my problem with the post is the insinuation that reddit is a gross money hungry corporation when the reality seems quite different.
"We don't want the money, no matter how insignificant" would be a fine statement to make :-)
Both this post and the Gawker post bizarrely talk about free speech as though it is an excuse for bad behavior. Free speech is considered a social good in its own right. Furthermore, in the writings of the authors of the US Constitution, and in numerous Supreme Court decisions, they do not only talk about government being prohibited from silencing people, they talk about policies that are implicitly dangerous by virtue of cooling the public debate.
Defending the principles of free speech is a difficult challenge when it comes to defending unpleasant and despicable groups. I don't find it credible or reasonable to claim that Reddit protected violentacres because it made them money, when it so clearly tarnishes their brand, and makes it more difficult for people to forward links, or otherwise talk about why they enjoy the site.
The economics may be counter intuitive (much in the same way that Lance Armstrong hurts the Nike brand now as much as he may have ever benefited it), but Reddit is more responsive to the criticism of despised groups because of its commercial interests. Take a nonprofit, community access television channel like Manhattan Neighborhood Network—I swear that I saw a show on that channel that had to be entirely about some creeper who was filming women walking by his apartment window on the way to work.
This post, and others, are based on the presumption that caring about the principles of free speech, and that recognizing that often ugly but lively debate is important to a dynamic society, is the same as wanting to see depraved and perverse content. Do they think the ACLU secretly sympathetic to neo-nazi causes, too?
I find it especially troubling when it comes from journalists make the same presumption, and then clarify that they are implicitly more trustworthy (even if they've ever knocked on the door to someone's home with a camera crew) than someone misbehaving on a public site, or that that is even relevant, as though there are different classes of people when it comes to how much of a voice you are allowed.
There is no hypocrisy in saying "I don't support what you are saying, but I defend your right to say it."
Now, sure the money they made clouds matters a bit, but that money was content-neutral. They neither encouraged nor discouraged any particular content.
Others here have rightly pointed out that Reddit is not government, and that they aren't obliged to allow all legal speech. However, in an age of increasing acceptance of voluntary censorship (walled gardens, etc) Reddit has chosen to take the principled position of allowing its users to self moderate its content, only intervening in cases of illegality.
If one thinks that creepshots-style content shouldn't be allowed (and there are certainly compelling arguments for this case), one should petition the government to classify it as illegal, not wrongly criticize Reddit for taking the consistent position that they have.
Sorry, the SJ guardians live in a black and white world where you are with them or against them and being against creepshots AND against doxxing is completely impossible.
(That article if anything understates how bad the problem is.)
I flagged this article because IMO something this dumb doesn't belong on the front page.
The global ban has been lifted, but many of the moderators of the most popular subreddits consider Violentacrez a mentor/friend, and the individual blocks remain in effect. In the end it doesn't matter because during the crucial window of relevance the article was blocked.
Nike is a huge multinational business. I find the comparison to reddit silly.
Reddit, in its entire history, has erred on the side of free speech. That is noble, rational, and respectable.
Reddit preserved /r/jailbait for as long as possible because it was not illegal. Reddit is trying to be a platform and a vehicle for discussion, not a content moderator, and in that regard it's doing a good job.
The first and second options have been successfully implemented, to varying degrees and sometimes with a measure of hybridization, in many communities. By refusing to punish miscreants but punishing those who would punish said miscreants, Reddit is currently on the third path, and that's not a practical place to be.
I find this Adrian Chen figure, however, to be of bad character. I don't particularly like Mr Brutsch, but I like moral-hysteria witch hunts even less. Talk about misusing your privileged position in the media to play judge, jury and executioner to some misguided schmuck. Hope he gets signed up to a few dozen more of those mailing lists.
I think it would be interesting to compare the rules that Facebook uses to take down Pages vs the ones that are used to take down subreddits, but I don't think the Facebook rules are public. Facebook definitely took down some of the "good riddance Amanda Todd" pages, but I understand they are leaving some up that many find offensive.
Anonymous is still just a bunch of persons with no coherent membership, who may or may not be reachable. Until Anonymous goes after an alphabet agency again, there's really no point.
Literally anyone could be in Anonymous, simply by claiming the name.
Voltaire (maybe): I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.